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Mentorship

Explore "Mentorship" on Taro

Mentorship is the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor. A mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person.

Found 23 lessons for software engineers with this tag.

How can I help juniors?

Anonymous User at Taro Community profile pic
Anonymous User at Taro Community

I am mentoring juniors for the last few weeks. In the past, I've been mentoring people with some professional experience but this colleague doesn't have any. Now, after these few weeks I am wondering:

  1. How much time should I spend helping them? Currently, I have to spend 2-3 hours for person per day otherwise they will be blocked for days. Even though I am trying to explain that they can ask other colleagues as well, they are not asking anyone else.
  2. How can I be sure what are they suppose to know and what's not? For me, I have my own understanding of what they should know but I know for others may differ. In my country the juniors must be part of an academy before applying for a job. I know what they learn there, so I know what hthey should know and what not. Now, after these few weeks I realize they have gaps which they shouln't have. On the other hand, the academy is typically more than an year and it makes sense many things to be forgetten with the time.
  3. How can I measure properly their performance since they are just starting? What is a normal performance?
  4. How deep should I go in explanation of his questions? I believe this is where the high quality questions will help them, but I believe they have a lot of gaps to make a quality question and give the proper context.
  5. How can I help them to improve their questions instead of having to explain for hours one topic and then another, etc?
  6. When should I say I give up on him? I really want to try everything before giving up.
  7. How to stay less emotional when explaining the same things for hours to the same person?
  8. How can I help them to understand me better? Sometimes, no matter how am I explaining specific case/topic and no matter what examples, nothing helps.

I think the colleagues are really motivated and this is one of the reasons I want to help them. I want to be sure I did everything I can.

116 Views
3 Likes
12 Comments
18 hours ago

What should I do in a situation where my manager is well-meaning but incompetent?

Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Google profile pic
Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Google

Apologies in advance for a long question. Not sure how to ask this question without providing deeper context.


I’ve been working with my current manager for the last 1.5 years. While they have recently helped me get promoted to Senior, it’s been a constant struggle. I dread our 1:1 almost every single week because it always run overtime and we are often still not on the same page. 

I see two major issues that haven’t notably improved in the times I’ve reported to them.

(1) My manager isn’t able to coach me, or any of the SWEs on the team. My manager doesn’t seem confident when we have career discussions - I recently asked them what they thought was the difference between good TL and a great one, and they struggled to coherently answer this. Instead, they said they would know better after the next performance calibration.  Additionally, none of my teammate has gotten proper coaching either.  For example, a teammate struggled to submit code due to their poor code quality and thus had low CL velocity, so my Manager simply told them to submit more CLs, which only made them more stressed without a legitimate way to improve. 

(2) My manager lacks technical understanding of our projects and constantly pushes for speed. My manager was externally hired, and to this day, they don’t really understand the complexity of the work our team does. I understand EMs don’t need to contribute code directly, but my manager almost always underestimate how complicated the projects our team takes on are. As engineers, we frequently have to defend our timelines, which is not only frustrating but also pressures some teammates to favor suboptimal design or hastily done CLs that just causes even more churn. 

The weird part is, my manager often seem unaware of their own actions, and when I talk to them about these issues, they are always receptive to feedback and seem willing to improve. However, I simply haven’t seen enough improvement in the last 1.5 years. 

I could leave, since this is having an impact on my emotional well-being. But I do have good standing w/ my own team and the overall org, and I want to use this situation to learn as much as I could. I know that I myself have a lot to learn as a tech lead (Thanks for , it’s really helpful), and I know I can probably get a bit ahead of our projects and start estimating/de-risking earlier, so my Manager doesn’t get overly aggressive with timelines. I know I can also take this chance to more closely mentor my teammates and help them succeed, since they aren’t really getting it from our manager. 

I want to stay, but is it the wrong decision because I have little career support from my manager? If I do stay, what should I focus on so I can really help my team and at the same time learn something valuable for my career?

1.1K Views
17 Likes
3 Comments
a month ago

How to manage a team towards high performance?

Anonymous User at Taro Community profile pic
Anonymous User at Taro Community

I've done a lot of research on how to be a good manager, but now do I just "trust the process" or how do I ensure we are a high performance team over the next half?

I'm a newish EM at a Series-B start up of 150 people, ~25 engineers. So far I have positive feedback from my manager and reports that I am empathetic and supportive. What my manager is telling me now though is that we need to see results. Productivity and performance seem OK in my first months but it is too soon to really see my impact. My manager noted that since we have scaled up from 4 engineers to 25 and gone mostly remote over 3 years there may be a loss of a sense of urgency and the feeling of impact per dev. We are also split into many teams with a smaller scope per team.

The temptation when asked to "get results" might be to ask for constant updates from developers and punish them when fake hard deadlines are given and missed (we are a B2C company so there are rarely actual deadlines). So how do I motivate my team to work hard in a healthy sustainable way? How do I measure the progress and reward them fairly while creating a team focused culture and not one that is competitive and individualist?

Below are some of the management ideas I'm using/working towards. I have lots of room to learn how to do each better, so advice on which to prioritize my effort at improving first would be great in addition to notes on what's missing and what seems off on the list:

Individual attention

  • Working with each individual to set SMART goals for the next half
  • Working with each individual to figure out what motivates them, and do that
  • Figuring out what learning each person wants to do and giving them support there
  • Regular, timely feedback (positive and negative)
  • 1:1s where I do a lot of listening, help remove blocker
  • Shielding from outside distraction and unhelpful pressures

Team culture

  • Creating a lowercase-a agile mindset: people are first and it is ok to fail and we learn from our mistakes. We can fail gracefully by making small, quick launches where we get frequent feedback from the users, and feedback from coworkers on how we are succeeding/failing
  • Making the team effective first, efficient second: 5 wrong things done in a quarter are worse than 2 right things that move the needle
  • Setting team OKRs for the next half that the team wants to accomplish
  • Encouraging team work on tasks, pair programming, positive code review culture, etc
  • Improving the process to make it effective and fun around how the flow of work happens between planning, selecting tasks, marking things as done and tested
  • Team demos with stakeholders to show off results and get feedback

Bonus questions about motivation: In 1:1s how do you figure out what motivates someone since they might not say extrinsic things like money even if that is what they are working for, or the opposite they might be happy at their level and just like the work they do with a good work life balance but might not say that directly either. Also if there is a team of 5 where 2 want money and 3 love the work for itself, how do you tailor their experience to that? The first two will still want fun/interesting work and the second three still want to get promoted and compensated fairly.

Thanks!

137 Views
3 Likes
4 Comments
2 months ago
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